Friday, 13 February 2015

New ebook from Five Leaves: David Jackson on the Bulger case

Another e-book only title from Five Leaves. Destroying the Baby in Themselves: why did the two boys killed James Bulger? by David Jackson. This is a reprint of one of the first titles published by Five Leaves in 1996 and is an examination of the actions of James Bulger's killers in the light of the culture which pressurises boys to be ever more agressively manly, harder, stronger, more commanding yet these two boys had chaotic backgrounds which led to the paralysing horror of the event.
Destroying the Baby in Themselves has been unavailable for many years but consistently in demand as a course book. It is available at 99p
from all e-book platforms.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

New from Five Leaves: David Jackson on the killing of Stephen Lawrence

Now available as an e-book, as an ebook only to be precise. The Fear of Being Seen as White Losers: white working class masculinities and the killing of Stephen Lawrence, by David Jackson. 99p from all ebook platforms.
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This essay extends anti-racist debates by taking a close look at some of the possible reasons for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. His murder was a part of the rise of extremely violent racism in Britain (particularly in south-east London) and in Europe over the preceding decade. The neglected links between Stephen Lawrence’s murder and the wider issues of English national and young white working-class masculine identities are explored, to more clearly understand the complex reasons for the killing.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A message from Alan Gibbons about National Libraries Day

Four years after I called for a National Libraries Day, an event that is now an annual celebration, I fear for their future. On May 25th that year I said:
“We are delighted to launch National Libraries Day, a week of events in early February leading to a day of celebration of reading, libraries and librarians around the United Kingdom. A reading child is a successful child. A child who goes to the library is twice as likely to be a good reader and that child becomes a literate adult, a lifelong reader. There are 320 million visits a year to our libraries but we can make them even more popular,”
Four years on, the annual number of visits has fallen by forty million. The fall has been steepest in deprived communities, according to research by the House of Commons library commissioned by the Labour Party. The research follows the Cipfa figures in assessing that there were 282m visits to libraries in England in 2013-14, compared with 322m four years earlier.
In deprived areas, the percentage of people using libraries has dropped by more than a fifth from 46.2 per cent to 36.8 per cent.
A third of people aged 16 and 24 had visited a library in the last year, compared with nearly 40 per cent four years earlier.
There are now at least 330 fewer libraries open for 10 hours or more a week, a fall of eight per cent.
A few months ago William Sieghart, author of an independent report on libraries, warned the network was at a “critical moment.” Even the prestigious Birmingham of Library faces devastating service cuts.
Add the number of library closures to branches being handed over to an uncertain future in the hands of trusts and volunteers, book stock reductions and ever shorter opening hours and you have a recipe for possibly irreversible decline.
During my years of campaigning to save our libraries, I have debated with MPs, councillors and the Culture Secretary. I have yet to hear a single comment from any of these people to reassure me that the service is safe in their hands. So let’s celebrate National Libraries Day, but we will have to fight for them if it is to mean anything.
Alan Gibbons, Campaign for the Book

Monday, 19 January 2015

Is there a siffleur in the house?

If you were listening to the radio today and heard a new word - siffleur - referring to Ronnie Ronalde who has just died, you have not yet read the Five Leaves' book A Brief History of Whistling. Ronalde is of course covered in the book. A siffleur is a professional whistler. The female version is siffleuse, and our book was launched with a siffleuse, Sheila Harrod, who knew Ronalde, stealing the show. The book also retells John Gorman's story of Ronalde appearing on Sundays at a bar in Hackney, deserted during the week, but an upmarket bar with drag queens on Sundays. This was in the 1950s. Ronalde's whistling was popular in the 1940s and 50s, when he was regularly on the radio, had best-selling records and you could even by a Ronnie Ronalde whistling aid which looked like a polo mint but made of tin.
As far as we know, our book is the only book on the history of whistling!